Fate of Pier 40 Could Be Determined Tomorrow

Tomorrow the Hudson River Park Trust is set to vote on a plan by the Related Companies to redevelop Pier 40 on W. Houston Street as a ~$600 million entertainment complex, which would include a permanent home for Cirque du Soleil and the Tribeca Film Festival, and would draw thousands of visitors per day.

Neighborhood residents say the Related plan would ruin the pier’s current use as a park and would bring unwanted auto traffic to the area. According to Community Board 2 member (and Streetsie Activist of the Year) Ian Dutton, the Related plan includes over 10,000 daily vehicle crossings of the Hudson River Greenway. Pier advocates have formed a group called the Pier 40 Partnership, which put together a counter-proposal and has pledged to raise tens of millions of dollars toward a much needed rehab of the pier.

On Sunday, hundreds showed up to protest the Related plan and express support for keeping the pier for neighborhood use. The Times reports:

"We love Pier 40," said Mellora, 14. "We need the fields," added her mother, Bonnie Ansbro. "It builds a sense of community. We don’t want these kids to travel all over the city to play."

"Keep the park a park," said Rich Caccappolo, president of the partnership, whose members include Craig Balsam, a founder of Razor & Tie Entertainment; Chris McGinnis, a real estate developer; and Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist. "It’s not a circus, a performing arts center, or a huge destination that’ll draw 1,000 cars."

The Villager, which probably has the most thorough coverage of the Pier 40 story, last week called on City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other officials to step in on behalf of the neighborhood.

The community looks to [Quinn’s] for support to save the pier from becoming an extravagant entertainment destination, and to help support the groups that will contribute to creating a low-impact but viable alternative. She needs to tell the Trust she supports the Partnership’s alternative – and, in the strongest terms possible, that Related’s proposal is unacceptable. Speaker Quinn, the community will remember your leadership on this pivotal issue.

Rendering from Pier 40 Partnership via The Villager

  • swigg444

    The FDNY plans to move a fireboat to pier 40. The fireboats of the fdny discharge the waste from their bathrooms into the river. They deny this fact. They claim that a contractor cleans the waste out and carts it away. If you ask to see the ships log (kept by the pilot) you will not see any entries attesting to the fact. If they continue to deny that they dump sewage into the river, ask to see the receipts from the contractor. Dont let the fdny continue to poison our waterfront!

  • Good synopsis & links, thanks.

    Most people who’ve been following this are aware of the playing fields – but did you know that Pier 40 has also been one of the all-too-scarce points of river access for recreational human-powered boating? I’ve listed the organizations today on Frogma.

    The Trust shut down another such hub, Chelsea’s Pier 63 Maritime, for nearly a full year, with extremely short notice. The situation there was different as Pier 63 was a subtenant of a Trust interim tenant (and a difficult one who stretched “interim” to the breaking point) but a lot of boaters found oourselves in a real scramble to find places to store our sixteen-foot-plus most prized possessions (can’t just park it in your NYC apt) before the construction fences went up.

    The first page of the Hudson River Park Act includes the phrase: “The creation of the Hudson River Park will encourage, promote and expand public access to the Hudson River, promote water based recreation…”

    I just hope that whatever happens at Pier 40, the boaters there aren’t treated quite as DIScouragingly as the Pier 63 paddlers were.

    They ARE building boathouses, but at least back when I was there, it sometimes seemed like they don’t see the boaters who have been operating reasonably well through non-Park groups or facilities.

    Of course I haven’t had a boat in the Hudson River Park since Sept. 11, 2006 (the day they closed Pier 63). I keep my boats in Brooklyn now. Got too tired of the politics.

  • steve

    Any body how HRPT voted tonight?

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